26 Oct 2017

New petrol tax for Aucklanders

From Checkpoint, 5:14 pm on 26 October 2017

A new petrol tax of 10-cents a litre for Aucklanders could be a matter of months away, with the council hoping to introduce the tax as soon as possible.

The newly sworn-in government has confirmed it will change legislation to pave the way for the Auckland Council to bring in the new levy.

It'll be used to help pay for $15 billion worth of light rail around the city, as well as new bus ways, bike paths and roads.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the fuel tax was the fairest way to raise the money needed to pay for new transport projects.

Mr Goff said he would meet with the Transport Minister, Phil Twyford, to see how soon they can bring the new legislation in.

"We're both on the same track, we both believe there needs to be a fuel tax, we both believe there needs to be a significant investment in public transport to take the pressure off our roads," Mr Goff said. "And the real question now is, how soon can we get this legislation in?"

The new fuel tax will replace the current Interim Transport Levy, which expires in June next year.

Mr Goff said this 10-cent a litre tax raises twice as much money, and is a fairer way to source it.

"I'd rather have a user pays system where those that are using the roads all the time are paying a little more, rather than the flat rate interim transport levy which meant that a pensioner was paying the same amount as Sky City for example ... that clearly is not a fair system."

Reaction to fuel tax mixed

The AA's Auckland spokesperson, Barney Irvine, wants to make sure the tax will be collected and distributed effectively.

"We would like to see strong business cases for any of the projects that are going to be funded," he said

Ken Shirley from the Road Transport Forum was completely opposed to the petrol tax, calling it utter nonsense.

"I don't think they've thought it through," he said.

"I'm sure when they speak to officials they'll point out it's not a smart idea, it's not a clever idea, it's a very inefficient mechanism."

And Mr Shirley added that every local authority in the country has different and pressing transport demands, and might now ask for a fuel tax to try and raise money as well.